Knight bashes Wooden over UCLA recruiting
Knight ripped UCLA for allowing booster Sam Gilbert to violate NCAA rules while he attempted to recruit players to the school.
“I have a lot of respect for Wooden as a coach, how he coached. He was a good coach,” Knight said in an interview on “Undeniable with Joe Buck” that will air Wednesday (8 p.m. ET, Audience). “But from then on, and I don’t mind saying it, I don’t respect Wooden, because he allowed Sam Gilbert to do whatever it took to recruit kids.
“And one time he told me, he said, ‘I just didn’t know how to deal with Sam Gilbert.’ And I’m saying to myself, ‘I damn sure could have dealt with him.'”
In 1981, UCLA received a one-year postseason ban and had its 1980 national championship game appearance vacated over Gilbert’s actions, though the NCAA violations cited were not during the Wooden era.
“Personally, I liked John, as a person, but it isn’t just John, it’s a whole UCLA approach to recruiting,” Knight said. “I think John was called in and told he didn’t have to worry about recruiting, that they had people that would take care of that for him.”
Knight, a former ESPN analyst, and the Hoosiers did not endure NCAA violations during his tumultuous tenure at the university, but Indiana did receive three years of probation in November 2008 for more than 100 impermissible phone calls made by former coach Kelvin Sampson.
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